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Bring in the Bookcase Background

Bookshelves in the Background

I used to love watching Through the Keyhole. Lloyd Grossman (and now Keith Lemon) pottering around celebrity homes up and down the country after asking the same question ‘Who would live in a house like this?’ The show gave viewers like me an opportunity to have a nosey around cluttered cottages in the countryside or terribly tidy townhouses in the city. Over the past few weeks, while dipping into the news I’ve found I’m once again peering into houses, homes or make-shift studios. This time of politicians, journalists, reporters and commentators.

Language of Books

Don’t know if I’m the only one to notice this – but it struck me after the first week of lockdown that bookshelves with rows of carefully arranged books seem to have become the go-to-choice as the go-to-backdrop for anyone reporting on COVID19 or anything for that matter! This got me thinking about bookshelves and books and what they say about us as homeowners and what messages they convey about us as individuals. 

More Space Please we’re British

We’re becoming a nation that’s anti-clutter where decluttering has become a popular profession with its own Association of Professional Declutterer & Organisers. Today’s trend in property refurbishment is open plan living spaces which means shelf curating is getting more extreme as living spaces get smaller. Which makes the incorporation of bookshelves a developer’s challenge, a seller’s compromise and a space seeking buyer’s complete no-no.

Share Your Shelf to Share Yourself

Bookshelves contain books that tell stories. They’re a homeowner’s mirror of the family history. Bricks of knowledge hopes and dreams. Books shape us. If you’ve grown up a book-lover, your bookshelf has grown up with you. Which is why they’re trophies of our past. Snapshots of the present and indicators of our personality. The way we organise our books speak volumes about our traits and characteristics. Not to mention whether we display them to our colleagues, clients and contacts during a zoom call

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A Family of Book Worms

The quest to optimise space in property development is always a major driver in all my refurbishments. However – if you step into the house which I call my home, which I moved into in 2002, it tells a different story. It’s the story of a family. 

When my daughters were young, we had mini bookshelves, so the books were easily accessible. Books were part of growing up. Today they’re more ornamental or sentimental. I have a set of Jilly Coopers in the dining room resting on a piece of furniture that doubles up as a cupboard and a bookshelf. I have a whole set of CIM books regimentally arranged on the stairs. And I have four books on the go in the bookcase under my bed. 

Do you think the bookcase is going to have a resurgence as an essential feature as a result of the increase in book reading recently due to the pandemic?